Whether deciding to buy a dozen steaks on sale at a warehouse club or choosing the best foods to have for a potential weather emergency, everyone needs to know what kinds of foods will go bad in storage. This article will address what foods are not suitable for storage and provide safer food alternatives.
Perishable foods include anything that will go bad in hours if not refrigerated, such as meats, dairy, and bread products. Most fresh fruits and vegetables are also perishable foods since they only last a few days before rotting. If kept in the refrigerator, dairy, bread, and meat products have a short time span. Freezers can preserve meats for a few months safely. However, if the power goes out for an extended period of time, especially during summer months, frozen meats could be unsafe to eat within twenty-four hours. Meats, dairy, and fresh fruits and vegetables are not good choices to store for an extended period. Eat these items within days of purchase and instead focus on nonperishable foods for long-term food storage.
Nonperishable foods, such as pasta, canned goods, and staples like flour and sugar, can last a very long time in room-temperature storage. Just about any item can be found in canned form. Meats like devilled ham, chicken, and sausages can be found in cans. Tuna and salmon are canned forms of seafood. An unlimited variety of fruits and vegetables are also available in cans. Evaporated and condensed milk, although not ideal dairy sources, are a safe option. Most expiration dates on canned goods are a couple years away, which makes them an excellent option for extended storage. Flour, sugar, salt, and spices can be kept for at least a year if kept in air-tight containers. Pasta, rice, and noodles have a very long shelf life if stored in a dry place. People who live in areas where hurricanes, tornadoes, or heavy snows can disrupt electricity for weeks at a time will benefit from a pantry filled with nonperishable foods.
The most risky food for storage is any kind of perishable item. Prolonged storage of these items will result in a moldy, smelly mess. Eating perishable foods that have been around too long could result in a nasty case of food poisoning. Even nonperishable foods will need to be checked to make sure the expiration dates are still good, and sometimes even nonperishable foods can go bad. If it smells funny or is not the right color, it should not be eaten.